Last Thursday night the 36th Annual ASCAP Deems Taylor Award recipients were honored at a ceremony in New York City. Established in 1968, the awards seek to honor excellence in music writing, with recognition going to authors, journalists, broadcasters, and publishers across genres. The awards are split between symphonic and pop categories (jazz is considered pop here, an irony noted by the presenters).
The recognition also comes with a cash prize. Books are awarded $500 and articles $250.
The evening had a bittersweet note to it since family members accepted awards on behalf of Arthur Berger and Lise A. Waxer, both of whom had died (Berger was aware of the award and had planned on attending the ceremony). Timothy White‘s widow also made a moving speech appreciative of how ASCAP had honored her husband during his career as a music journalist and editor. She announced the second recipient of an award for biography writers established in his honor.The evening also included performances of a duet for piano and cello by Berger and two tunes penned by Hoagy Carmichael, the subject of Richard M. Sudhalter’s award-winning biography.
The seasoned panel of Deems Taylor judges (all ASCAP members) juried the awards again this year, including Frank J. Oteri (NewMusicBox editor), Paul Moravec, and Charles Dodge (former AMC board president) for symphonic articles and books. Matthew Shipp, Larry John McNally, and Wesley Stace handled pop articles, and Julie Flanders, Deborah Frost, and Richard Miller selected the pop book awards. Each committed to a heavy load of reading (the concert music panel read some 45 books and 70 articles this year) and the judges themselves presented the awards to the winners at the ceremony. In their remarks, the judges especially emphasized awards going to non-music publications such as Creative Loafing and Richmond Times-Dispatch.
This year’s winners are:Authors and Publishers
Alfred Appel, Jr.—Jazz Modernism: From Ellington and Armstrong to Matisse and Joyce—Alfred A. Knopf Publishers
Arthur Berger—Reflections of an American Composer—University of California Press
Michael Hicks—Henry Cowell: Bohemian—University of Illinois Press
Larry Hicock—Castles Made of Sound: The Story of Gil Evans—Da Capo Press
Charles M. Joseph—Stravinsky & Balanchine: A Journey of Invention—Yale University Press
Allen Shawn—Arnold Schoenbergs Journey—Farrar, Straus & Giroux, Inc.
Lise A. Waxer—The City of Musical Memory—Wesleyan University Press
Timothy White Award for Musical Biography
Richard M. Sudhalter—Stardust Melody: The Life and Music of Hoagy Carmichael—Oxford University Press
Writers and Publishers
Eli Attie—The Washington Post
Clarke Bustard—Richmond Times-Dispatch
Austin Clarkson & David Holzman—Bridge Records (liner notes)
Jim Dulzo—Jazz Times
Mark Gresham—Creative Loafing
Laurence Hobgood—JVC Jazz Festival Program
Ashley Kahn—Verve Music Group (liner notes)
Alan Light—GQ, New Yorker, and Spin
Ralph P. Locke—Ash gate Publishing, Ltd.
Lewis Rowell—Tom Mathiesen and Andreas Giger, editors—University of Nebraska Press
WFMT Radio & WFMT Radio Network—Steve Robinson, Producer
A&E—Live By Request
Tony Bennett, Creator
Danny Bennett, Executive Producer/Creator
Paul Rapapport, Exec. Producer/Creator
Andy Kadison, Exec. Producer
Jodi Hurwitz, Exec. Producer
Mitch Maketansky, Supervising Producer
Delia Fine, A&E Exec. Producer
Emilio Nunez, A&E Producer
Alliance Entertainment Company—allmusic.com—All Music Guide
Jon Garelick—The Boston Phoenix
Steve Reich—Writings on Music 1965-2000—Oxford University Press
Jim O’Neal/Amy Van Singel—The Voice of the Blues—Routledge